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The Difficulties of Living at the Edge of “Superfast Broadband”

Sunday, May 30th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 13,752
Pencaitland_map_east_lothian_scotland

What do you do when a Government’s network availability checker says you can get a fixed “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) service, even though you cannot? Questions like this crop up from time-to-time in our inbox, so we’ve decided to take a look at one example from Scotland in order to highlight the issues it can cause.

Firstly, we should clarify that this article isn’t strictly looking at the common issues related to poor home wiring (i.e. 30Mbps+ may technically be possible but an issue or fault on the line within or outside your home prevents such speeds), or a lack of awareness about alternative networks (i.e. a 30Mbps+ service exists, but you are unaware and may be looking in the wrong places). But both of those can be relevant.

The issue that we’re going to be examining today is more tightly confined to what can happen at the edges of Openreach’s (BT) Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) network, specifically where the coverage of one VDSL2 cabinet ends and another one begins.

In some areas this can result in communities being split by fixed line performance, with those at the end of one cabinet’s FTTC service receiving slow speeds, while those nearer to the other cabinet may see well above 30Mbps+. Such situations are irritating enough, but they’re sometimes made even worse by network coverage checkers that fail to recognise that the issue even exists.

A Case from Scotland

Take the example of Pencaitland (Tranent) in East Lothian (Scotland), which is a rural village with a modest population of around 1,500 that sits about 12 miles South East of Edinburgh. The community is largely served by two FTTC street cabinets, one is positioned inside the village (Cabinet 5) and delivers superfast speeds to a big part of the area, but a few homes are also connected to a more distant cabinet (Cabinet 6) and, for some of them, that has become a problem.

NOTE: Speeds on FTTC will vary due to signal degradation over the copper line between the cabinet and your home (i.e. the further you are away, the slower it gets).

Will Arbuckle, Local Resident, explains:

I have what I’d call poor internet speed. 10Mbps down, 1Mbps up. It’s not abysmal but it does restrict my work. I’m an animator, who does work for end clients such as the BBC, NHS etc. File sizes can be large.”

Unfortunately for Will, the Scottish Government’s (SG) broadband checker (here) states that a “commercial broadband provider has built a superfast connection at your address,” except this isn’t the experience for his house (as above). But hop a few feet across the road and it instantly becomes a different story, with speeds of 62-40Mbps being fairly common.

Will is connected to Cabinet 6 and is largely surrounded by properties on Cabinet 5, all with better speeds. Meanwhile, BTWholesale estimates that Will’s line should be able to deliver ADSL2+ speeds of up to 15Mbps (from the exchange) and FTTC speeds of between 14-25Mbps (from the cabinet), although he clearly isn’t getting the upper end of that.

Suffice to say that there’s probably a combination of things going on here. On the one hand, Will is unlucky to be near the edge of Cabinet 6’s coverage where speeds are naturally slower. On the other hand, there could be some issues with poor home wiring, ISP congestion and cross-talk interference that may be impacting his line speed. Openreach has investigated his line and found no problems, other than its length (they can miss things).

Openreach told Will:

“[The customer] currently has a fibre broadband service but isn’t getting superfast speeds. This is because the Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology that he’s connected to has a limit of up to 1.5km from the fibre cabinet to the premises.

The line from his premises to the fibre cabinet is longer than this. This doesn’t mean our network is sub-standard, inadequate or that there’s a fault with it, it’s just the limitations of the FTTC service. So, this means that whilst Mr Arbuckle is able to get [hybrid] fibre broadband, the speeds aren’t superfast.”

We suspect BTWholesale’s estimated line performance may help to explain why Will’s home is classed as being covered by “superfast broadband,” despite the fact that he’s getting much worse than the estimated performance. The predicted speed of c.14-25Mbps would probably be close enough to be considered as a covered under the original Digital Scotland contract and almost all nearby homes do seem capable of better.

However, none of this helps Will. Like others in his situation, the results from the SG’s broadband checker prevent him from being able to access gigabit broadband vouchers, which might potentially help to fund a solution. Likewise, it also means that his situation may be overlooked by the new R100 programme. The UK Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit scheme might also help, but it’s too early to know.

Over the years we’ve heard from plenty of people in Will’s position, where issues of cabinet coverage and copper line quality often conspire to result in sub-superfast speeds, even in areas where all of the local premises are officially deemed to be “superfast” capable. None of this is a new problem. We asked the SG for their thoughts last week but received no response.

We think that it would be handy for the SG’s coverage checker, as well as any others used by similar programmes, to include a simplified ability for end-users to dispute claims of “superfast” capability for specific addresses. As it stands there isn’t a clear path for disputing such results, although we understand that the SG do accept queries from people and will make amends or give vouchers where appropriate.

Operators like Openreach do also provide a four monthly update report to programmes like R100, which can help to address incorrect speeds by reflecting the latest industry feedback via website checkers. But the ultimate answer to all this, of course, is to move all off of copper-based lines and on to full fibre, which doesn’t suffer from the same signal degradation problems.

As we’ve said before, this article isn’t a particular criticism against the SG because issues like this will crop up across various different UK local authorities. At the end of the day estimates of copper line performance won’t always be reflective of the real-world experience for some consumers, but they’re one of the few reasonably effective tools that we have for modelling such things.

As for Will, we note that Tranent is listed as a location that is planned to benefit from Openreach’s new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network (here), although it remains unclear whether the local deployment will be extended across his particular village.

Leave a Comment
77 Responses
  1. CarlT says:

    Fingers crossed Will is included in that commercial program and will receive the technology he needs to work efficiently.

    I’ve had to try and work with 1.3 Mb/s down, 300 k up doing WebEx and shifting multi GB debug files around. Nasty.

    1. ianh says:

      I was in a similiar situation a few years ago but in the rubbish broadband top trumps….i was pushing 4 down!

      Ended up paying for an azure server i could spin up and down as needed, doing all my work that end. Not ideal but it sure as hell saved my sanity.

    2. CarlT says:

      Yeah I was on the brink of leasing a hot desk seat. Not good though it turned out okay eventually.

      I knew it would be bad when I moved in there but personal reasons took precedence. I knew government funding was both unlikely and unnecessary.

      Couldn’t even augment with mobile as there was poor signal. This in an urban area.

      More recent house move we paid £ xxx,995 for FTTP with exactly the house and plot we wanted thrown in as collateral. New build.

      Hopefully nearly all new builds, as they tend to be on the edges of coverage, are similar now. I think the vast majority are.

    3. Rich says:

      Unfortunately I doubt they will benefit as Pencaitland is about 5 miles outside Tranent. Looks from the OR announcements that they tend to list the towns/villages separately if they are in an exchange area, look at Fauldhouse, Shotts and Harthill as examples.

    4. GNewton says:

      “I’ve had to try and work with 1.3 Mb/s down, 300 k up doing WebEx and shifting multi GB debug files around. Nasty.”

      Couldn’t you have gone with a leased line for your business and treat is as another tax-deductible business expense?

    5. Disgusted of Somewhere up North says:

      In some cases this is due to the authority controlling the roll-out, ie a council, having no understanding of the laws of physics, doing all based on a postcode and despite being told they have got it wrong, do nothing to sort it out.
      Suffice to say in my case the party involved were the LUP’s other parties are may be available in two years time 🙂

    6. CarlT says:

      ‘Couldn’t you have gone with a leased line for your business and treat is as another tax-deductible business expense?’

      Given it wasn’t my business and leased lines weren’t available due to the amount of wayleaves required as I was surrounded by unadopted roads and civils were required to get the fibre to me: no.

      I asked AQL about it but was too distant and terrain unsuitable for their point to point microwave solutions.

      I also couldn’t have additional copper lines installed as, due to poor communication between the developer consortium and Openreach, there weren’t enough e-sides to deliver a single line to each property at that time let alone multiple. Neither extra xDSL or EFM were possible.

      Openreach were told that cabinet would connect a little over a hundred plots. It was at 400 at that time and 650 by the time construction was complete.

    7. GNewton says:

      @CarlT: “Given it wasn’t my business and leased lines weren’t available …”

      Fair enough. So why wouldn’t an employer than provide a suitable office with adequate internet connectivity for their employees (other than the temporary Covid situation)?

      Having said that, I know of whole industrial estates without decent internet (no VDSL nor fibre), we moved years ago to another place because there were no suitable offices available in our old town for our small business.

    8. CarlT says:

      ‘Yeah I was on the brink of leasing a hot desk seat.’

      However, not my employer’s problem how good or otherwise my Internet is. I knew the job was WFH and connectivity was my responsibility. They would refund this within a guideline.

      Had I gone as far as leasing a desk I would’ve expensed this as my connectivity. Onus on me to find the solution either way.

    9. GNewton says:

      @CarlT: “not my employer’s problem how good or otherwise my Internet is. I knew the job was WFH”

      OK, yours was a bit of an unusual situation then. Most employees commute to the employer’s workplace on a daily basis, and it is up to the employer to provide adequate workplaces which includes office desks and equipment, including internet and office LAN as needed. Admittedly, for small businesses this can be a challenge at times, especially when they are located in towns or industrial estates without proper internet connectivity.

      This country is simply too backwards, perhaps a working FTTPoD for businesses should have been made available years ago.

    10. CarlT says:

      The commute to the nearest office would have taken well over 15 hours door to door so best avoided.

      Most people that work in the field tend to work at least partly from home as they’re out and about and a full time desk space is a waste.

    11. GNewton says:

      @CarlT: Interesting. I still think it’s up to the employer to provide adequate equipment for the employee to carry out his/her job. If an employer can’t provide adequate internet connectivity for field workers who partly would have to work from a home office then the company should not hire them from that location in the first place. Or at the least it should provide proper financial support for the employee to move to another location with adequate internet connectivity.

      Not every location is suitable for running a business. As I said, this is not an ideal situation, various governments and telecoms are responsible for having made this country such a backwards place, no end user should be forced to organize endless campaigns just to get a basic utility.

    12. Will says:

      Unfortunately although ‘Tranent’ is often in the Pencaitland address, it really is a separate town a few miles away. I’ve had confirmation from OR that there are no FTTP plans for Pencaitland atm.

    13. GNewton says:

      @Will: So have you considered a leased line then? Or a FTTP-on-Demand? Or even moving premises, or finding an office in another town which has proper fibre internet? Then writing it off your taxes?

    14. Will says:

      @GNewton

      Honestly – never heard of leased-line. At £200 p/m for 50Mbps, it might be a bit of a stretch.

      Commuting to an office is an option, but it kind of defeats the purpose of choosing self-employment work from home flexibility.

      Thanks for the ideas though!

  2. Rahul says:

    I can confirm line length is a big factor in the speed estimates with FTTC. I live in a high rise building Central London Bishopsgate Exchange Cabinet 20 that was only upgraded from EO Line 2 years ago. I’m on the 14th floor and I get close to the max speeds.

    High Low High Low
    VDSL Range A (Clean) help 80 68.2 20 19 62.1 Available Available
    VDSL Range B (Impacted) help 80 64.8 20 19 56.6

    Meanwhile when I check speed estimates of addresses at the top floors of my building, e.g 20th floor. The checker shows this!!

    High Low High Low
    VDSL Range A (Clean) help 76.8 55 19.2 12.7 49 Available Available
    VDSL Range B (Impacted) help 74.5 49 18.9 11.2 40

    I honestly don’t understand how a 15-30 meter difference in height should equate to these kind of figures, despite the fact that the cabinet from my measurements on google maps is around 320 meters. This is the same cabinet that serves the entire building. Maybe there is also cross-talk involved to reduce the speed estimates?

    These were always my fears when Openreach upgraded us to FTTC. Had the cabinet been even closer, everyone would’ve had 80Mbps max attainability!

    Luckily we are now going to finally get FTTP soon from Community Fibre after years of waiting for the wayleave to pass.

    But in rural areas some don’t have access or any hope for Altnet providers, so they are very much dependent on Openreach to upgrade them to FTTP.

    They desperately need FTTP, even more so than us! But this is the disparity FTTC creates. Those living in city centres tend to have cabinets serving them closer giving them higher speeds and on top of that getting FTTP as well when they least need it.

    1. Matt says:

      > I can confirm line length is a big factor in the speed estimates with FTTC

      This is obvious. It’s always been the case. Even with ADSL before it and will continue to be that forever as long as copper is used for a service that degrades over distance.

    2. Rahul says:

      @Matt: Of-course we all know that line length is a very obvious factor. I made a mistake in my wording. What I wanted to say is that I am noticing such a big change in predicted speeds from just my building alone!!

      This means that FTTC speed variations can be a factor for very high rise buildings where people on lower-mid end can receive higher speeds than those on top floors, even if it meant a small difference.

      Here in my case we can see a difference of 3.2Mbps from 80Mbps to 76.8Mbps simply from a matter of few floors higher up the building. This means those at 20 floor are less guaranteed to receive full 80Mbps download and 20Mbps upload compared to those on the first floor.

      This will be worse for newer build high rise buildings that are much taller. Luckily most new-build buildings have FTTP. But imagine if One Blackfriars 52 floor 170 meter or The Shard (310 meters tall) had FTTC? Their cabinets must be located right next to the building or they are bound to suffer from poor speeds!

      FTTC would be rendered useless like in the case of some rural areas and towns.

      While FTTP is essential even if most people were only interested to take the lower speed packages.

      FTTC was a good cheap alternative for Openreach to deliver relatively high speeds in a cost effective way, but is no longer viable in 2021.

  3. Meadmodj says:

    I found exactly this scenario recently while visiting a remote farm in Wales. But across the country there is likely to be a significant percentage of FTTC premises that are underperforming below 24Mbps but above the USO. It is made worse by the previous use of Post Codes for planning rather than the direction the line actually goes and Post Codes are now being used to limit products being offered.

    The issue for me is that Openreach and the ISPs (Sky shows speeds for last 14 days) are aware what lines are under their agreed guaranteed minimum or lines that obviously require an engineering visit (speeds compared to their neighbours). Unless a customer constantly monitors and claims there is no compensation. After any contract renewal the minimum speed is even lowered or products inhibited.

    The Superfast coverage is overstated by Ofcom/DCMS (Ultrafast too in my experience).

    Ofcom’s position on all technologies is that if an ISP fails to provide the level service agreed you can cancel your contract. But that’s not much use if there is no alternative technology available.

    Those affected by this issue may not be covered by BDUK, Out-In or commercial rollout for six years unless Ofcom revise the USO which they are obligated to do.

  4. FFF says:

    Speed model used to only estimate based on line length to DP plus 50m, rather than to actual property. In rural areas it can be much longer. Heard rumours it was to be corrected at some point? Plus I’m not sure model allows for line quality – copper thickness and / or aluminium content.

  5. Damien says:

    5M too long for g.fast at around 250mbps – 21mbps FTTC here – Feel the pain I really do. Middle of a town

    1. A_Builder says:

      Realistically if you have only getting that performance on FTTC, then Gfast would be a disaster.

      Gfast works at higher frequencies so is even more affected by line lengths.

      Part of the problem is that when Gfast works well it works really well – but the number of instances where it works well is actually quite small as it requires very short very high quality copper with decent joints. Sadly that is not the case. If there is any aluminium around – forget Gfast the inevitable metal-metal electrochemical corrosion will kill the signal at the joints.

    2. adslmax says:

      I was very lucky man here. Full on VDSL2 (FTTC) 80/20 from 2014 to 2021 upgraded to G.fast 160/30 only just connected few days ago with max line rate of 210/30. (no chance of 330/50)

  6. Martin says:

    Master socket – there are improved faceplates that helped get rid of interference. Getting an extra 1 or 2 Mbps could be worth it if it improves 10Mbps to say 12 Mbps.

  7. FTTH says:

    It is such a travesty that it is allowed to call FTTC “fibre broadband”.

    1. André says:

      Whilst I completely agree with you, that ship has sailed long ago.
      I think we just have to put it down to another OFCOM/ASA cozy arrangement with the industry and move on with our lives…

    2. Jonathan says:

      What you have a fibre NIC in your PC at home do you?

  8. Paul says:

    We are lucky as we have Gigaclear but our village is weird for BT. Our end is on a different exchange and max we could get is 14mbps 5 or 6 houses down they get much better speeds and BT decided to install fttp after Gigaclear built in the area. The chances of us getting fttp availability from BT anytime soon is 0%. At least we have another option but it would be nice to have options.

    1. Damien says:

      Never give up hope. A town near me has BT FTTP and is getting 3 alt nets – all building right now – and BT are moving into towns that already have Alt nets.

      So you never know

  9. chris conder says:

    It is the same all over the country. All part of the digitalbritain superfarce. Two decades of Openreach protecting their copper assets, and convincing governments that they can change copper and aluminum inot fibre by waving a magic wand, and preventing altnets getting support. But the Altnets are growing and taking real fibre where BT fear to tread. Let us hope that wise councils support them instead of the obsolete old monopoly.

    1. The Facts says:

      Openreach building fibre faster than anyone else.

    2. Meadmodj says:

      In rural Councils, Devolved Administrations and UKG are supporting the Altnets. Investment appears to be on tap now and the tenders are there.

      Commercially Altnets big and small are expanding quickly. However everything in the Altnet world is not great. Whether vouchers or commercial they are being very selective with many premises and complete roads being missed in their coverage areas. Altnets are not always a panacea and I have witnessed some pretty bad engineering practice recently.

    3. Fastman says:

      really

      disinformation when you first posted in to 2013/2014
      its now complete and utter irrelevance now
      never mind the factas carry on with the false narrative

    4. CarlT says:

      Let’s hope they’ll support whomever provides the right products at the right prices rather than handing taxpayers’ money out based on any other criteria.

      It’s not the job of government to subsidise alternative networks and is a misuse of public funds. Whomever gets the fibre to the most properties in a reasonable way for the lowest cost should win the tender.

      In many cases that’s going to be Openreach but that’s why major infrastructure projects are given to larger companies not your local builder down the road that knocks out walls and lays patios.

    5. GNewton says:

      @The Facts: “Openreach building fibre faster than anyone else.”

      Well no, not quite true. BT started fibre rollout more than a decade ago, and it took all that time just to reach 1/5th of this country.

      Alternative network builders, though restricted to certain geographic areas, often deployed fibre faster than BT/Openreach. However, BT now does cover larger areas. But overall, this country is quite behind of where it should be.

  10. Richard Faulkner says:

    We live in a rural village, we have a combination of copper and aluminium cabling and as our connection comes directly from the exchange, nothing is being done to help us. I have been told that our line is approximately 8.3km long, so a super fast 1.2kb connection. This also means no one will give us a deal due to this poor connection, we are stuck with our last telephone supplier. We do have a wireless broadband which does work but we are limited to one supplier and only the speed they offer.

  11. Marc says:

    This isn’t just a rural issue either. I’m pretty much in central Bristol yet my street and the few around me can’t get anything decent. Some other streets nearby can get Virgin Media but we can’t and BT haven’t bothered doing FTTC for the area yet let alone FTTP. We have to deal with 5G which at least gives good speeds but is expensive, bandwidth limited and causes issues due to the use of CGNAT.

  12. Buggerlugz says:

    FTTC isn’t fibre broadband and never will be, the fact BT gets away with selling it as such is a complete travesty. They get away with it because if OFCOM didn’t allow it the government would look increasing incompetent and the number of households on “Fibre” would be substantially lower, thus highlighting the UK’s laughable lack of investment within this key infrastructure.

    The problem here is the fact BT is allowed to get away with calling 30Mbps Superfast in 2021. It isn’t, its pathetically slow. This means that the entire industry gets away with delivering the bare minimum constantly. The outcome is a market given a free pass to choke-hold newer faster technologies and invest the minimum. It allows the mobile operators to deliver substandard 4g/5g “as long as its “superfast” no one can complain!” and this mentality spreads like a disease across the entire sector.

    It needs putting a stop too, so broadband can move forwards. At the minute “superfast” is holding it back because it distorts the real picture of the shocking quality of broadband in the UK which the government would rather not admit.

    1. Meadmodj says:

      If I remember correctly wasn’t it Virgin Media that started this and BT Consumer marketed their service as Infinity (just as bizarre). It is only because other ISPs started using “Fibre” that BT returned. As for Openreach all they said was “Fibre here” which was correct label for the Cabinet.

      Going forward it doesn’t really matter what technology is used. Ofcom should focus more on ISPs/Network providers maintaining their committed service levels whether that’s FTTC lines degrading, Yoyo VM speeds, reorganising GPON splitters or 4G coverage/capacity.

      Ofcom have allowed providers of all types to use “up to”, lower speed promises and advertise coverage that is far from universal.

    2. Not a Politician says:

      BT have form, remember the ‘Most powerful router adverts’?
      Eventually after a year, ASA finally got around to slapping them on the wrist, damage done, surrounded by BT routers.
      The public, not being too technically minded believe anything they are fed.

    3. Meadmodj says:

      Exaggerated or selective marketing applies to all and things won’t change with FTTP/5G.

  13. Optimist says:

    No point in complaining – hit Openreach’s revenues by using an alternative such as Starlink.

    1. Secret Squirrel says:

      Problem with that is the service will get overloaded and slow down, look at the comments on this board about Three.
      FTTP is the best solution with the current technology, though the fibre circuit is aggregated, the backhaul may not have the capability to successfully service heavy loads, and the server my be under par.
      All this is due to under funding of the system, and political interference.

  14. Nick Roberts says:

    FFS – with the prevailing ethos the providers are allowed to designate two used bake bean cans and a piece of string as an adequate connection.
    Why are we happy and intent in the UK to cut-off and bottle-up local talent consequent upon a poor internet connection. If UK is to be World-facing and comoetitive these stupid restrictions must be removed.
    If the commercial oroviders are not prepared to raise base level of service in the face of demand because its all too difficult/costly/last-mile-b*llocks, then HMG should intervene and provide funds and expertise to enable motivated local groups to get things going, en masse.
    UK local communities in the past were gifted large amounts of its infrastructure care of the primary needs of industry and empire, now thats gone or scaled-down, a replacement institution us needed to do the gifting. Guess who ?
    There’s no competitive incentive to the current infrastructure providers to do the last mile, whether that’s distance or speed, so its got to be created by Government money exclusively funding community groups and using alternative connection technology to what the current mass installers are using.
    Once the boards of the current providers see the periphery of their markets being nibbled away in quantity, then it will be astounding how quickly the last-mile bean counters will be overruled and imorovement schemes will go ahead. Just think about the 2000-2008 financial exoansion – countries were faced with the prosoect of getting on board to maintain their financual heft on the Workd market or being left in a back water to shrivel.
    Surely, the schema by which cable tv was introduced into isolated communities in the States is the model to follow.

  15. Pezza says:

    “ However, none of this helps Will. Like others in his situation, the results from the SG’s broadband checker prevent him from being able to access gigabit broadband vouchers”

    Sorry Mark, perhaps you could clarify what exactly you mean by this? I have seen MANY people in these comments sections on your stories claim anyone can apply for a voucher scheme, unless they already have FTTP. So why do you believe they can’t in this situation because of a broadband checker? What is different in this situation. Are people who comment on your stories wrong?

    1. Meadmodj says:

      Gigabit Voucher Criteria:
      *Existing broadband speeds are less than 100Mbps
      *A gigabit capable network isn’t likely to be built to that area commercially in the near future
      *There is no government-funded contract planned or in place to improve the network already

      Some are blighted simply by the Post Code they are in or lack of visibility or accuracy of SG, WG and BDUK programmes at premise level. In Scotland for instance they may be theoretically covered by R100, but may be not.

    2. Buggerlugz says:

      Also if you’re “lucky” enough to be in an area that was once “diamond cable” for example (and is now Virgin) then you can forget FTTP for the next 50 years.

    3. CarlT says:

      The presence of Virgin’s network will increase chances of seeing FTTP sooner rather than later.

    4. Pezza says:

      @Meadmodj, well if I understand this correctly, ignoring your acronyms as I’ve no idea what they are, your first points are all wrong as none of those impact this line, yet the article states they cannot apply for a voucher. So can you explain that, without acronyms.

    5. Meadmodj says:

      @Pezza. I have stated the criteria defined by the Department for
      Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for the UK Government sponsored Gigabit voucher.

      If none of these apply then the premise is eligible. Devolved Assemblies in Scotland (SG) and Wales (WG) have schemes to increase the level of the voucher subsidy. “Rural” is defined differently in each country.

      There are existing UK Government and Devolved Assembly sponsored “Superfast” programmes that may now delivering Fibre and hence Gigabit capability.

      In addition providers have been asked to update where they will implementing their known commercial rollouts.

      As well as this over 52% of the country is covered by Virgin Media who currently propose to provide Gigabit capable products even in their legacy areas.

      Therefore:
      Many post codes are not eligible for the vouchers
      Individual premises will be caught up by them being in a particular post code that is so classified
      Some premises will still be missed but it may be unclear until planning and installation is complete which may be two years out.
      Post Codes are for delivery and may not reflect the design of network
      Then there are database errors

      Current tenders are more specific but may still be subject to change. Commercial rollout progress will be subject to individual provider priorities.

    6. Pezza says:

      @Meadmodj, so you think @Mark Jackson is wrong in this article then, stating the house is not eligible for a voucher scheme. As I said if you read the article then none of the criteria you mentioned apply here.

    7. Meadmodj says:

      @Pezza. No simply that there are many reasons why those with poor or deteriorating FTTC are unlikely to be covered by any current activity for the foreseeable and have no recourse to the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) despite current Government promises.

    8. Meadmodj says:

      Some poor performing FTTC lines in Pencaitland do appear eligible on both the DCMA and Digital Scotland site which infers up to a £5000 subsidy for Superfast and that it can be combined with the £1500 Government Gigabit Voucher.

      Therefore the specific properties that are not eligible have to be down to database entries or are covered by initiatives not visible to the public.

      The issue though is that there is currently no easy consumer process to get premise data updated and even if they are eligible for a voucher they need to get other properties to collectively apply together to a supplier to get overall costs within the subsidy.

    9. Meadmodj says:

      Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. DCMS.

    10. William Arbuckle says:

      Hi Pezza, I’m the ‘Will’ from the article.

      As far as I’m aware, the only way for me to apply for a government voucher is through Digital Scotland’s R100 scheme website.

      Openreach have recorded with the SG that my postcode has access to FTTC (no matter what the speed is) and therefore has ‘superfast availability’. This makes me not eligible.

  16. KelvinLong says:

    Try Australia where the whole country is the “edge” that costed us $50b and ongoing billions to make it usable 🙁

    1. Spiderads says:

      Times that by 10 for full fiber and add some more.

      Your NBC got nerfed to fttc when its far less suitable for you guys due to distances. The question in the UK is as always not really WHAT should be done but WHO pays.

    2. Buggerlugz says:

      I thought it was more along the lines of “which friends of our companies can we give the contract to so they can make the money”?

    3. KelvinLong says:

      “Times that by 10 for full fiber and add some more.”
      Actually it would have cost the same, independent analysis & senate enquires have already covered this numerous times. Avoiding the money pits of asbestos pit repairs and replacements was never in the original FTTP NBN.

      Along with but Australia is a huge place myth has been debunked many times and even from an ex-nbn designer –
      https://www.mclarenwilliams.com.au/2016/12/20/australias-internet-slow/
      With almost 90% of the population living in urban areas (UK is ~80%)
      Yes it’s a big place, but 2 satellite’s were going to cover over 90% of the land mass.

  17. Spiderads says:

    Max distance of 1.5km from the cabinet?

    Oh how we would WISH to only work on lines that short!

    1. Will says:

      Hi there, this is Will from the article.

      Yeah, I know I’m not getting absolute shocking broadband speeds. It’s more the fairness aspect. The guy directly across the street gets 3-4 times the speed. The friend a hundred metres away in his new build and on 400Mbps.

      The fact that the R100 scheme over and over again ‘commits’ to ’30+Mbps for every home in Scotland’ and their website saying that I have availability to that. When I question it, Openreach respond by saying that I need to read between the lines on terms like ‘superfast’.

      Here’s Openreach’s High Level Complaint reply to my MSP: “*Will* has referred to the Scottish Government website, which states that they have met the R100 programme requirements in his area, and that properties have access to superfast broadband. FTTC is given the product name ‘Superfast’ which doesn’t correlate to the Ofcom definition of superfast speeds (30Mbps+). So while I appreciate why *Will* is under the impression that the website is giving out inaccurate information, all it’s really saying is that FTTC is available to order (with speeds of up to 80Mbps). The website is only a guide and doesn’t show the speed a customer can get on that technology and it’s not until someone contacts their Service Provider, they’re told what speeds are available and the costs involved. Speeds available can be affected by a number of factors within and external to Openreach’s network.”

  18. NoName says:

    This is very similar to my situation. I’m about 2km from the exchange and was on an EO line. Then Openreach built a new cabinet 300m away from me. They connect all the neighbouring properties to the new cabinet so they no longer had EO lines, except mine. When I queried this they connected me to the cabinet directly outside the exchange 2km away. Now they tell me I can order “superfast” but the max speed will be about 19 / 1. As all the neighbouring properties get the top range of fttc I can’t get a CFP. It’s also rural and there are no fttpod providers in the area. I asked openreach if it was even feasible that I could be reconnected to the other cabinet and they said there wouldn’t be capacity, which seems unlikely as it only serves about 4 properties.
    fttp has been announced for surrounding exchanges but not this one.
    I don’t think I have any options despite being eligible for a £3,500 grant.

    1. Fastman says:

      no name

      As all the neighbouring properties get the top range of fttc I can’t get a CFP. .

      You could get a cfp in the situaitonal but there wont probably be any voucher availability -and will need to be funded by the community – that is not the same as you cant get a cfp

    2. NoName says:

      Apologies for the ambiguity in my comment. This is indeed correct. A CFP would technically be a possibility even if you had superfast speeds and wished to upgrade further. The problem in my situation is driven by the fact that  CFP requires more than one house hold to apply. As all the neighbouring properties are well provision, far beyond their actual requirements given how they use the Internet, there is not enough interest to open a CFP, especially as they would have to contribute towards the project and a service they currently have no need for. This is the reason I have said a CFP is not possible. It is the requirement for more than one household to apply. So although my property can access funding, given it is the sole property not covered by the previous superfast rollout in the area I am unable to use this method. I had hoped that the small green boxes fitted to many the poles were early signs of fibre deployment but apparently not.

  19. Alasdair Bailey says:

    In cases like this it’s worth contacting your local councillor and having them have the council contact Digital Scotland to get the source data corrected. This happened for me with a handful of properties in an area of my ward here in Perthshire (I’m a councillor). Virgin Media were stating that they provided superfast for the whole postcode but weren’t actually willing to dig the extra trench to serve a small infill development of new houses that were set back from the road (literally only by about 50 feet but still!).

    The council was able to get Digital Scotland to update the source data so now at least they show as being available for gov’t interventions. Maybe my case with Virgin was easier because the nature of virgin’s service is that it’s more binary as to whether they can meet the speed or not (fewer environmental factors). Still, it’s the best way that I’ve found to get the source data updated.

    I hope this helps someone.

    1. Will says:

      Hi Alasdair, this is Will from the article.

      I’ve actually tried that and had my MSP contact Openreach’s High Level Complaints. But they’re doubling down on my property having superfast availability.

      I’ve also talked to someone within the R100 side of things who was fully unwilling to help.

      Openreach has built a FTTC network for my property and has recorded it being ‘superfast’ to the gov website. End of story apparently.

      Maybe if SG conceded that I don’t have their definition of ‘superfast’ (which I don’t): they’d have to start questioning thousands of other properties. I’m not sure if it’s Openreach or the SG who are to blame.

      One defines superfast as being 30+Mbps. The other defines it as FTTC (no matter what the speed is)

  20. J Rowlands says:

    I have this same issue. I live at the Newtown end of Furness Vale, connected to the New Mills exchange. The cabinet in the centre of Furness Vale is fibre enabled and so is the one in Newtown, however living between the two means I have a maximum download speed of 10-14 Mb/s and upload of 2-3. Hopefully this will be resolved sometime in the next 5 years but for now we have to cope with the slow speed. It becomes a joke if trying to watch anything in 4k on a streaming service.

  21. Regorimabitbackward says:

    My situation is even better than the one you’ve illustrated I live on a large housing estate currently fed by 3 bt street cabinets the cabinet that feeds my property was missed in the original bt survey and was not upgraded to FTTC as a result whilst the other 2 cabinets got an FTTC upgrade now whenever I do a search on comparison websites I offered all sorts of fibre deals and sometimes I feel like saying ok come and fit it fortunately virgin is here so me and a lot of my neighbours have switched so in that respect we know we are lucky.

    1. Will says:

      Hi, I’m Will from the article.

      Hopefully I get an alternative solution sometime soon. At the moment it’s just Openreach here and no other competition.

      Actually- someone from GoFibre randomly chapped on my door the other day. Fingers crossed something comes of that.

  22. Declan M says:

    Hi Carl I live in Pathhead and a few people in the outskirts of the village who can’t access the FTTC speeds due to living to far away from the cabinet have Lothian broadband I know it’s not the cheapest but have heard good things about them. This is always an option till FTTP is rolled out in Pencaitland.

    1. Will says:

      Hi there Declan,

      Unfortunately Lothian Broadband isn’t an option here in Pencaitland. It requires line of sight and Pencaitland is in a little dent.

  23. Paul says:

    Very similar story, just did a check and its 6.12 mbs up, 0.13 down and ping time of 149ms. When I was moving in I was told could get up to 26mbs, due to the postcode, but the above is the reality. I’m told its because I am 1.7 miles from the nearest exchange. When I try to ask OR of plans to upgrade, I’m told there are none. Whem I enquire about a Voucher, I’m told I dont quality as a commercial provider MAY provide to me some time in the future. I am semi rural between two towns. I contacted the-
    local council who suggested a FWA provider, who told me he doesn’t cover my area.
    Its not so much the slow speed which frustrates me but the lack of how to find out any information so can make alternative plans, including moving somewhere else.
    So have paid for one of Elon Musks satellite dishes (which hasn’t arrived) in the meantime…

  24. Mark says:

    I’ve read some articles which claim that copper will be switched off by 2036. So doesn’t that point that everyone will need to be on fibre or some hybrid products? They can’t run side by side forever, and 4G or 5G won’t be the solution or a satellite in the sky.

  25. Paul Jameson says:

    In New Zealand we are getting FTTP (fibre to home). However if your outside the capex line, your stuck with vdsl. adsl or fixed wireless. In my city, I know of areas that this has happened to. One is about a 90 sec drive from me, another has about a 3km drive from the network. It’s been deemed to fail capex because of getting fibre there.

    Thirty six customers in a hill top street have a 350m gap of houses between them and the network. The local fibre co wants $41,500 to install the fibre there (for all 36 homes).

  26. Will says:

    This is Will from Pencaitland.

    A couple of days ago a chap from GoFibre chanced to knock on my door and asked if I was interested in his full fibre service.

    I then chewed his ear off for about 15 minutes on the above topic. He was pretty desperate in the end to get away from me, but at least he noted my contact details and interest in his company.

    Apparently GoFibre are writing up a proposal and with any luck will be applying for vouchers in my area.

    I won’t be eligible for the R100 vouchers as again, I apparently already have superfast broadband, but their sales dept assured me that UKGP vouchers would be the way to go in my instance.

    I have all my fingers and toes crossed. Which sometimes but not always, makes it hard to work.

    1. Mr Ralph Averbuch says:

      Hi Will

      Just had the same guys at my door. They said it’s been going gang busters and they were going to do a Sep/Oct rollout.

      Could be a bunch of got air bit of they got a critical mass of uptake in betting it will happen.

      Cheers

      Ralph
      Mercat Cottage
      07920 094 923

  27. Paul M says:

    About one in 20 houses in my village get FTTP where they’re in areas built recently, the others get FTTC, and the cabinets are at one side of the village, thus performance drops off badly.
    What’s frustrating is that I am right on the edge of fttp coverage, just 8m away from fibre ducting, but BT want £9500 inc vat for FTTPod and lay fibre miles to a different cabinet!

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